Elan Solveson's blog
Ustrasana- Camel Pose
This month we’ll be focusing on an energizing and invigorating backbend. Backbends open and stretch the entire front of the body, improve posture by realigning the spine, and strengthen the back muscles.
Using a wall when practicing Camel Pose is an excellent way to practice proper alignment. Come to your knees, and place a block on the narrow setting between the thighs to ensure that the knees are hip-width apart. Bring the front thighs and frontal hip points to touch the wall. As you move into the backbend, you’ll keep this connection to the wall to ensure that the hips stay stacked over the knees.
Twisting is an important component of the yoga practice, giving us the opportunity to wring out our bodies just like wringing out a washcloth. Through this wringing action, this seated twist can flush out toxins while bringing in fresh oxygen to muscles and organs. Twisting is also beneficial for range of motion in the spine, especially the lower back. Improving digestion, posture, and circulation are other added benefits of twists.
I love handstand. I’ve never worked so diligently on one pose despite falling over and over again, all the while maintaining a sincere enthusiasm for the work I was doing. Through that process I learned more than just the biomechanics of the pose, I learned that in order to succeed at anything in life, it takes equal parts patience and determination.
I will preface any instruction for handstand by sharing that patience is key when
practicing handstand. Know that even though progress can seem slow and can even seemingly move backwards at times, it all adds up.
Navasana- Boat Pose
Developing a strong core is a vital component to improving your climbing technique and skill. Think of creating a strong core as laying a strong foundation for the rest of the body. A strong core will support the lower back, improve posture and balance, and even improve digestion. Thankfully, the yoga practice includes many poses that develop and reinforce core stability.
Chaturanga Dandasana- Four Limbed Staff Pose
For many yoga practitioners, Chaturanga can become a quick stop on the way to Downward Facing Dog. While this pose is often used as a transition pose, it is important to keep the integrity of the pose in the process. When done correctly, Chaturanga builds strength in the upper body, wrists, and core. Chaturanga also builds the foundation for many arm balances. However, when done improperly, Chaturanga can compress the shoulder girdle and the lower back. By taking the time to learn proper alignment, this pose can become an important strength building portion of your yoga practice.
Vasisthasana – Side Plank Pose
Improving balance and building strength are two reasons why yoga is such a fantastic complement to climbing. This challenging arm balance incorporates both of these elements by building core, arm, wrist, and shoulder strength while also developing balance. Side Plank pose is accessible to yogis on all levels due to a wide variety of modifications that can be taken.
To come into Side Plank Pose, begin in Downward Facing Dog. Roll forward to Plank Pose, bringing the feet together to touch. Shifting your weight to the right hand, roll the body over onto the outside edge of the right foot, keeping the feet stacked. Extend the left arm towards the sky and imagine lifting out of the right wrist and pressing the mat away. The hips will stay lifted so that the ankles, hips, and shoulders are in one straight line. You can switch to the other side by transitioning back through plank pose.
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana- Pigeon Pose
If tight hips limit your high stepping, pigeon pose is a perfect addition to your climbing routine and yoga practice. Pigeon pose stretches and lengthens the deep muscles of the hips and hip flexors. A deep hip opener such as Pigeon Pose may feel intense, so make sure that the body is warmed up before moving into this pose. There are plenty of variations of Pigeon Pose for the beginner to advanced student. Take it step by step and with patience, Pigeon Pose may just become a welcoming and inviting place.
Bakasana- Crow Pose
If you're interested in taking flight and venturing into the exciting world of arm balances, Bakasana is one of the most beloved and accessible arm balances for new practitioners. I like to think of Crow Pose as the foundation upon which other arm balances are built. Once a student understands the mechanics and balance in Crow Pose, other arm balances become more accessible. For more advanced practitioners, there are plenty of fun transitions to play with like Crow to Headstand or Crow to Chaturanga.
To begin, come to Malasana (Yogic Squat) to set up.